html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Expecto capsaicin!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Expecto capsaicin!

My sister and I tried to go to a chili contest on Friday. Dennis invited us. I was pretty sure I remembered the address, but when we got there, it was the sketchiest closed up storefront. At least four locks on the door, next to the liquor store in a vacated, boarded up block of Oakland. There was commotion, people shouting in the middle of the street. 'Sides the shouters, there was no one to be seen. It did not smell like delicious chili.

I called Chris, to ask him to check my email and confirm the address. He did, and thankfully noticed that there was also the same address in Berkeley! We headed up there. 'Cept, in Berkeley, that address didn't work either. It was on the opposite side of the street, and why you got to switch the evens and odds, Oakland and Berkeley? But it wasn't there. There was a big empty adult school building, or a broke-down empty chicken restaurant. Nothing plausible at all.

I called Chris back, asked him to re-read the invite for more directions. He did. XXXX San Pablo Ave, Friday Sept 28th. The 28th? Yep. We were at the wrong place, both in X and in T. This was sort of a relief, because it gave us a week to reach Dennis and sort out where the party is. But it also left us completely confused, because we just could not see having a chili contest at either one. Sketch locked-up storefront? Hulking empty school building? My new theory is that it is a Harry Potter-type address, where you run at a wall with a pot of chili and it lets you into a spectacular garden with picnic tables and cornbread and greens and beer to go with your chili.

With no chili to feed us, we went over to the Man Mall. That's what we call the Emeryville Public Market, because it is only the food court. None of those annoying stores, for shopping. Just lots of food stalls and a ball room for the kids. We met Firefighter Doug there, who gave my perfect nephews a badge and two hats. Do you think people who want to be big strong firefighters understand that about a third of the job is going to be chatting with the parents of little gape-mouthed kids? Every time I take a nephew by the fire station there are already kids there, bedazzled and discussing the trucks. The firefighters can probably peg a kid's age down to the month, discuss child development with the pros. And still they come out to chat, flash the lights and offer a little guy a chance to sit up high in the ladder truck.


Blogger susan said...

I'm glad I had fully finished swallowing my mouthful of water before I got to your third paragraph. The Harry Pot-o-chili mental image was nearly too much.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Scott Calvert said...

Good thinking on the Oakland vs Berkeley distinction with San Pablo Ave addresses, but you are not taking it far enough. San Pablo also goes through El Cerrito and Richmond each time resetting the numeric addresses. You do not have much of an address without the city. (Written without apostrophes as that key just broke :( )

2:16 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

...and all the way to the Carquinez.

5:11 PM  

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